Two founders come together to realize a vision of making a difference to the world. Life is full of exciting revelations and learnings and alignment is a non-issue. The company grows and few more people get inspired and join in the journey. The vision is powerful, and the startup team is energetic and aligned. As the vision starts taking shape, dollars start pouring in and the startup team outgrows the lift which they all use to fit in.
New team members join in as business expands in newer markets and geographies. For the first time the team start feeling the growth pangs. You didn’t know that the other guy you met on the lift has been working in your organization for past 2 months. As two or three different teams start managing tasks which a single person used to manage friction creeps in, and silos begin to appear. The same thing that used to get accomplished in hours now takes days to get done. And at any point in time it would be easier to find people who are overwhelmed by the action around and aligning everyone in a direction actually feels like a full-time job.
Sounds familiar? Well you are scaling up if this is what ails you, and don’t worry you are going through classic case of Scale up jitters. In an organisation’s journey this is a make or break situation but fortunately there is a way out. And to our greatest pride our very own #NewCodeofWork labs is where we found it.
It is rightly said that within the problem lies the solution. So when we started facing the scale up jitters we tried to find the root cause.
We asked ourselves – what was causing the discomfort? And the answer came out to be two simple words – Alignment and Context. As long as the organization can have pizza together in a board room, it is fine. Because everyone has the context, they are co-located, they can easily collaborate and are aligned. But as the company starts to expand, individuals become departments, and somehow the visibility of the direction in which company is going, is lost. And the result is seen in the form of symptoms – ineffective structures, silos, endless meetings to bring people on the same page, and irrespective of the best of intent business agility and effectiveness gets impacted.
With this “Self” discovery, we started an experiment in our labs with Collaboration. We took a control group which needed individuals spread across different geographies, working in different teams – permanent / part time but all needed to work for a common business cause. We provided this group a controlled environment (like happens in science labs 😊) where they were able to operate in a fluid, hierarchy less and autonomous way. They were given access to all digital tools – like emails, video conferencing etc. and were asked to work together. While the structure and combines objectives gave them a sense of direction but still there was lot of friction and effectiveness was lesser than what was expected.
That is when the solution clicked. We realized that what this team needed was a platform to Connect & collaborate with context of work. Meetings are important but quite often they become long winded and lose their purpose. That’s where a contextual collaboration platform comes to the rescue. While we have seen the evolution of systems from company intranets to enterprise social networking (Yammer, Chatter etc) to enterprise collaboration (Slack, Teams etc), what we found missing even in today’s most evolved enterprise collaboration platforms is the Context & Contextual Intelligence. And we solved this through our newest offering Collaboration. Here how we were able to solve it:
Setting the context
We created a workgroup (a virtual representation of the squad) in Collaboration and defined the objectives in way that was easy to understand as well as easy to discover whenever needed through a simple search using hashtags. To give people clear direction, group objectives were coupled with smart goals.
Through the messaging (one-on-one as well as group messaging) people could talk in real time and keep each other posted. This reduced the need for review meetings (which honestly everyone hated)
Ease of tracking
While all of it was good the real effectiveness came in from the way each goal could be broken down into tasks which could be allocated to individuals and then tracked on real time basis.
And something more..
In addition to this, few additional features like real-time, time bound polls to take group’s opinions on urgent matters (yep, important decisions like what to have for team lunch were also taken here 😊), celebrating achievements through appreciation badges and finally power of intelligence which made it easy for every one to use the platform were the features which created a lot of difference.
While it is always good to boast about the numerous features we developed as part of the journey, the true power of this platform came in when the team was able to complete the project before time, with 20% lesser time spent in meetings and overachieved the targets by over 15%. This exercise which started as a mere experiment helped us create a potion (since many of us are wanna-be hogwart grads) that could be the perfect fix for your scale up jitters.
While this platform might not get us a seat in Hogwarts 😉, it sure can help your dream of achieving more at a work a reality.